Q&A: Nina Tassler

President, CBS Entertainment

The Hollywood Reporter: What were your goals for development this year?

Nina Tassler: Continue to build (our female audience). I think we want to continue to build characters that are looking at their lives and recognizing challenges and obstacles and watching them succeed. In terms of alternative, it's been to try ideas that just run the gamut, from docu-narrative to big, fun, competitive pieces.

THR: Your schedule is dominated by procedurals, and most of your drama pilot orders went to crime, medical and legal procedurals. Any chance of overload?

Tassler: I don't think there are too many. The audience will tell us. A show like "Washington Field" certainly has strong procedural elements, but then there's a show like "Three Rivers," which is character heavy, and a show like "The Good Wife," which is a law show but also a very strong personal drama. So I think it's actually pretty diverse.

THR: The Wednesday night comedy hour. Will you continue having that block this fall?

Tassler: It took us such a long time to get to this place that we're certainly eager and invested in keeping it there. We've improved the time period, so it's something we'd like to stick with.

THR: Can we expect "Gary Unmarried" or "Worst Week" to return?

Tassler: "Gary" has done really well this season. It's going to be in there with the discussion of all the shows for next season, but we're in the middle of shooting pilots. "Worst Week" certainly has a tougher road ahead.

THR: "The Mentalist," the biggest new hit of the season. Anything different with the show next season that's going to continue its success?

Tassler: If it ain't broke, don't fix it, and so much of that show works really well. We want to hear from (creator) Bruno Heller and his group of people as to some of the ideas they have. One example that the audience was really intrigued with was what is Patrick Jane's backstory? I think we were given permission to reveal a little bit more next season.

THR: Is "The Unit" doing a strong enough number to continue next year?

Tassler: We call it the pre-football/post-football analysis of the show. Creatively, it's so well-written. We're going to wait and see.

THR: You have a lot of reality pilots, and in previous years your summer has been repeat-heavy. Will you make a play for the summer reality space this year?

Tassler: We're looking at making a big play for the summer reality space. We have some big, fun competitions; we've also got commitments in "Arranged Marriage" and "There Goes the Neighborhood." We're doing pilots, we're doing presentations, different tones, different sensibilities.

THR: What about scripted?

Tassler: We did buy "The Bridge" from CTV. We start shooting in about a month, and that show conceivably could be ready for summer.

THR: What are the chances of pairing "Big Bang" and "Two and a Half Men"?

Tassler: We certainly had a glimpse of what it would look like, but we are so pleased with our performance on Monday night. Again, this is under the heading of if it ain't broke, don't fix it. What's so great about that 9:30 time period is it's a great place to develop a new show. The final decision remains to be made.

THR: Is there anything you would have done differently?

Tassler: From launching a hit in "The Mentalist," from trying a new business model in a show like "Flashpoint," from being on the eve of launching, again, a new kind of entertainment in "Harper's Island," I think it's been an extraordinary year for us.

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